Hovnanian Enters Ohio
Hovnanian Enterprises acquired Summit Homes, headquartered in Canton, Ohio, for an undisclosed purchase price paid in cash. The acquisition of the "build-on-your-own-lot" home builder marks Hovnanian's entrance into the Ohio market and expands the company's "on-your-lot" operations. In the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2002, Summit Homes, which has operated throughout Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for more than 50 years, closed more than 500 homes with an average sales price of $128,000.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Builders Association named Hovnanian's Lakeside at Creekview, in Hainesport, N.J., as the state's best community of single-family homes with an average price of $250,000 to $350,000. The prize, called the Grand Award, is decided by judges who visit each neighborhood for a first-hand look. Lakeside, which is a neighborhood of 279 single-family homes surrounding a lake, was also honored for its logo, brochure, marketing strategy, landscaping, and signage.
Industry Movers and Shakers
Beazer Homes USA announced that David Weiss, its executive vice president and CFO, will retire on Aug. 15, 2003. The company intends to appoint James O'Leary, the current executive vice president of corporate development, as Weiss' successor. O'Leary joined the Atlanta-based company in June 2002 as executive vice president responsible for corporate development in addition to supply chain and national purchasing initiatives.
Pulte Homes announced that Mark J. O'Brien will be leaving the company effective June 30, 2003, after 21 years at Pulte. Richard J. Dugas Jr. will become president and CEO of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based company on July 1. Dugas had served as executive vice president and COO. William J. Pulte will continue in his role as chairman of the board.
Jeff Smith has become the new president of Taylor Woodrow's home building division in Houston.
Robert Van Cleave was named the new head of Centex Construction Group. He has been president and CEO of a subsidiary, Dallas-based Centex Construction Company-Southwest, since 1996 and has worked for more than 20 years in the construction industry.
The Luxury Group of John Laing Homes selected Patricia Carmichael to drive sales and marketing as the division's first director of sales and marketing.
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Older Boomers 'Buying Up'
Add another picture tile to the mosaic of senior home buyers. A new nationwide study shows that one-quarter of home buyers aged 50 and older are buying new homes with hip new-generation amenities like structured wiring and exterior maintenance services.
"Successful builders are offering yard service, high-speed Internet access, universal design features and social activities to attract 50 [and older] customers," says Kent Conine, president of NAHB and a home and apartment builder from Dallas.
Furthermore, the study by the NAHB and Countrywide Home Loans revealed that more than half of their buyers in age-qualified and independent living communities are spending the same or more on their new homes than they did for their previous homes. An even higher number are paying with cash or with high down payments of 30 percent or more.
"Baby boomers continue to rewrite the rules of consumer behavior at every stage of life, and home builders and mortgage lenders need to be prepared to meet their changing demands," says Jack Haynes, executive vice president of the National Builder Division at Countrywide Home Loans, in Plano, Texas.
An Architect for Whirlpool
Whirlpool Corp. has created a new position: manager of architectural and design marketing. Whirlpool's architect will work to develop closer trade relations with building and interior designers, as well as architects.
The first person tapped to fill the job is Mark Johnson, a licensed architect who has designed a variety of residential and commercial projects. As part of his new position at Westinghouse, Johnson will develop online course offerings for continuing education that will be available to the design community through Whirlpool's Web site www.insideadvantage.com. Johnson notes that professionals in the design community are early adopters of new trends and innovations. "My greatest challenge will be garnering the resources at Whirlpool to demonstrate our commitment to the design community."
Employees of M/I Schottenstein Homes celebrated the company's 10th year of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Company founder and CEO, Irving Schottenstein, was asked to ring the opening bell April 8.